• E. Vail

From Cowardness Came Bravery

Happy Valentine's Day! Sorry I wasn't able to post last week, I am making it up to you though by posting twice this week. How have you guys been? School has been stressful but I've definitely missed blogging and I'm happy to be back at it. For this weeks’ blog post I wrote a poem and analyzed that poem based upon the book The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I am taking a break from the BIWMTF theme for this blog post only just to shoutout an amazing book I just read. In order to understand this blog post you don't have to read the book but I highly recommend reading The Hobbit anyway. Here's a summary if you would like to check The Hobbit out. Just another note before I move to the actual poem and it's analysis, the analysis talks about me putting the poem in a different format. Because this different format is hard to read, I will put that as a picture at the end of this blog post and also include the poem in an easier to read format before the analysis. Here it is:

From Cowardness Came Bravery by E. Vail

Night was upon the hill

A hill of homes for the small folk

Ordinary hobbits, they were

Well-to-do hobbits

Nothing-of-the-odd hobbits

Predictable hobbits

Bilbo was the most well-to-do

With a hobbit hole of superior condition

A one-story abode holding the essentials

Very organized, it was

As you would imagine, for a well-to-do hobbit

For one who scarcely left his house

With hooks for coats and hats, of course, too

Hats of greens, scarlets, blues, purples, greys, browns, whites and yellows lined the hole’s halls

Belonging to thirteen dwarves

With hearts of music and cheer

Dwalin of menacing figure and tattoos

Balin the deputy, gentle and loose

Bifur the crazy, loony and injured

Bombur, the weighty one, clowny and gingered

Bofur of good humor, sweetness and generosity

Nori the thief with all of his curiosity

Dori of good intentions and protection

Ori the youngest of Thorin’s selection

Fili the noble and serious

Kili the battlefield-delirious

Gloin the proud and bitter

Oin who refuses to be a quitter

Last but not least, one of the greats

Thorin Oakenshield of leadership traits

The magical wizard Gandalf was who put this crowd together

Who always seemed to be on an adventure somewhere

Bilbo looked around his home in confusion

How did this come to be?

Although uncertainty remained for a great deal after

Bilbo soon transformed

With who used to be who he knew as strangers

Bilbo had almost died

A number of times

We were convinced it would be the end

But he found out his strengths

He persisted with pace until the finish line

From flusteredness came confidence

From close-mindedness came an open mind

From doubt came belief

From security came daringness

From safeness came sacrifices

From a worrier came a carefree warrior

And most of all,

From cowardness came bravery

And Bilbo slowly wished to be at his hobbit hole less and less

He was a new hobbit

Maybe a crazier hobbit

Perhaps an abnormal hobbit

An odd hobbit

Someone out of the ordinary,

But a happier hobbit, indeed

The poem From Cowardness Came Bravery by E. Vail is about Bilbo’s character development in the story The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. The first paragraph of this poem focuses on the ordinariness of Bilbo’s life, similar to how the book starts. Pages three to four explain Bilbo’s predictability while page six shows Bilbo quickly saying no to adventure (Tolkien 3-4, 6). The beginning of the book and the beginning of this poem sets up Bilbo to have a character change so there can be a contrast as to how he is at the beginning versus the end. The end of the first paragraph of the poem and the second paragraph introduce the thirteen dwarves who are vital characters to The Hobbit because of how much they contribute to Bilbo’s character change. For example, on page twenty-seven Bilbo is already experiencing a character change by wanting to go on the adventure because of how enthusiastic the dwarves were about the adventure the night before (Tolkien 27). The next paragraph of the poem explains Bilbo’s confusion and uncertainty (as seen on pages eight to nine when Bilbo was “too surprised to ask any questions” as the dwarves arrive) with how his ordinary life suddenly had so many unusual things in it such as the dwarves, a wizard and talk of adventure (Tolkien 8-9). This further emphasizes Bilbo’s personality of being an ordinary home-body.

The second to last paragraph explains how Bilbo had to find his strengths to find his confidence. This is shown in the book by Bilbo having success once he found the ring that made him invisible on page sixty-five (Tolkien 65). This ring made Bilbo realize he can be very stealthy and sneaky as said on page eighty-seven (Tolkien 87). The second to last paragraph also addresses Bilbo’s character changes such as “cowardness to bravery” which came with Bilbo persisting. The final paragraph addresses a repetition (“I wish I was back in my hobbit hole”); Bilbo says that he wants to be back at home less and less as the adventure goes on which, as explained in the poem, eventually leads to Bilbo being a different hobbit than he was before. Gandalf directly says Bilbo changed on page two hundred and seventy-four. Gandalf says, “‘You are not the hobbit you were’” (Tolkien 274).

Even if Gandalf  did not flat out say Bilbo had changed, the reader could figure this out by reading the final part of the book “[Bilbo] took to writing poetry and visiting the elves [...] Many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said ‘Poor old Baggins’” (Tolkien 275). This is a direct contrast to Bilbo being predictable and ordinary at the start of The Hobbit. The new Bilbo is also described in the final paragraph of the poem, ending with how this new Bilbo is happier than the old Bilbo. The idea that the new Bilbo is happier was introduced on page two hundred and seventy-five when The Hobbit states, “[Bilbo] remained happy to the end of his days [...]” (Tolkien 275). Therefore, the poem From Cowardness Came Bravery by E. Vail focuses upon Bilbo’s character development in the story The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. To add another aspect to the poem besides Bilbo’s character development, I used a sinuous format to create a mood of adventure. The ups and downs of the words represent Bilbo’s hero’s journey and the flattening out at the end represents the story cooling down until the return to the ordinary world.

Thanks for reading! I'll be posting again this week:).


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